December 13, 2011

Elimination diet starts today!

Steve and I went away to Lifehouse Spa over the weekend (it was a complimentary stay to make up for the bad experience we had there before) so I didn't want to start my diet until today, otherwise I would have missed out on lots of nice food!

I had to do a pulse test before eliminating dairy from my diet for a month. So this morning, before I had eaten anything, I took my resting pulse. This means counting the number of beats that occur in 1 minute.

I counted 67 beats.

Then I waited 10 minutes before drinking a glass of semi-skimmed milk (I could of eaten some cheese instead but I couldn't stomach eating cheese for breakfast!). Then I took my pulse rate again 10 minutes after drinking the milk.

I counted 66 beats.

Apparently if my body is intolerant to dairy then I should expect my pulse rate to increase. So I waited another 10 minutes and counted again.

I counted 67 beats.

Hmmm, not very supportive evidence that I am dairy intolerant. But I am committed to trying this elimination diet to see if I can get rid of my eczema.

So I tried rice milk made by Rice Dream for the first time in my tea. I tasted some of the rice milk on its own first and to me it just tasted like watered down milk and that's how it looked as well. When I used it in my tea I think I added about double the amount of normal milk, but I think this was because the rice milk didn't make the tea change colour as drastically as normal milk. So I was trying to match the colour as my normal brew, but I think you would have to add a lot of rice milk to get the same shade. I like my tea pretty strong and I think the rice milk actually allowed me to taste the tea a lot better as it wasn't as overpowering as normal milk. So I actually enjoyed my first lactose free cuppa!

So I'm feeling very positive about this new diet as there are lots of substitute dairy products available. If I didn't like the Rice Dream then I was going to try Lacto Free as their milk apparently tastes exactly the same as normal milk but the lactose has been removed. There's quite a lot of useful information on their website and tips on how to do an elimination diet as well.

I'm not expecting to see the effects of my diet on my eczema for a couple of weeks as it takes this amount of time to purge the body of dairy. I am also aiming to eat more oily fish, olive oil and avocados to boost the oils in my skin, so we shall see!

Eczema condition:-
Hands - on middle, ring and little fingers of both hands and a big arc between middle and little finger on the palm of my left hand. Skin is mainly very dry, not itchy and not cracked or sore.
Body - a small patch on the left side of my waist. Skin is itchy.

December 7, 2011

You are what you eat!

Today I went to see a nutritionist. It's something I've been meaning to do for a very long time, but I've kept putting it off for various reasons. But my eczema on my hands was getting worse and I was getting increasingly more and more tired, so it was time I did something about it. Also, I'd been watching The Food Hospital series on Channel 4 and it really spurred me on to try and treat my ailments through food.

Before my consultation I had to complete a questionnaire which included what symptoms I had, a short food diary and my general health and wellbeing. It was actually quite difficult to answer some of the questions as you have to be very honest. For example, I didn't tick the box which said I was an irritable person, but Steve said that was definitely a box I should tick! Charming!

The consultation lasted about 1.5 hours and I came away having learned a lot. I had already suspected that my blood sugar levels were all over the place and I now have to make sure I am eating a lot more regularly to make sure my energy levels remain constant, rather than peaks and troughs.

A surprisingly diagnosis was my eczema and tiredness might be caused by a dairy intolerance. My parents are Chinese and it's widely believed that because milk is not regularly drunk in China this has led to a lactose intolerance. So even though I was born in the UK and brought up on a mixed Western/Eastern diet, my genes are saying that dairy is not good for me.

So I need to do an elimination test, which means cutting out all dairy for 4 weeks. This will mean trying soya and rice milk for the first time! Apparently it takes 3 weeks to get accustomed to the taste of soya milk, so this will be interesting! When I think about what I have to cut out of my diet (milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, yoghurts) I don't think it's too bad and it could be worse having to give up something like wheat or my real weakness potatoes!

I am also severely lacking in B-vitamins so I need to get a good quality B-vitamin complex supplement.

I also need to increase my intake of fruit and vegetables, eating at least 3 different types of vegetables at dinnertime. This won't be difficult as I really enjoy eating veggies and it will force me to be a bit more adventurous and try new things to stop getting bored. More oily fish and olive oil will also help with the omega oils for my skin.

So, I thought I would blog about my new diet and it will be good for me to keep a record of my progress. But the diet is going to start on Monday as Steve and I have a nice foodie weekend planned so I don't want to miss out!
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